She's stopped in her southern tracks
Brought haply to this hard knock
When she shoots from the tall spruce
And snaps her neck on the glass.
From the fall grass I gather her
And give her to my silent children
Who give her a decent burial
Under the dogwood in the garden.
They lay their gifs in the grave:
Matches, a clothes-peg, a coin;
Fire paper for her, sprinkle her
With water, fold earth over her.
She is out of her element forever
Who was air's high-spirited daughter;
What guardian wings can I conjure
Over my own young, their migrations?
The children retreat indoors.
Shadows flicker in the tall spruce.
Small birds flicker like shadows--
Ghosts come nest in my branches.
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